Hollow Freedom

How to plan an escape from being middle-class?

I am a middle-class mid-twenties immigrant in pursuit of the faded, jaded, eroded twenty-first century version of the Great American Dream. Why am I in this pursuit? I do not know, but somehow I got genetically programmed by the struggles and aspirations of my nineteenth and twentieth century ancestors to naturally adopt this path as an escape from being middle-class.

And look where I am today: I am still a modern day middle-class. I have insurance, I pay my bills on time, I can afford smartphones, rent and mortgage, car and a vacation once a year, and I have a retirement account; and there are a million things I cannot do.

Middle-class is a religion, and there’s money to be made of it.

If you are willing to stretch your imagination, you will recognize the commonalities belonging to the middle-class shares with belonging to any other religion. The success of any religion is ensured when its believers fail to recognize other ways of living as correct or feasible. Just like middle-class think of themselves living the good life.

The politicians are the prophets of the middle-class. They dictate their lives. The entrepreneurs who make everything increasingly affordable and accessible to the middle-class, are the priests and angels. They keep us within the folds of this invisible religion with their rampant promises of benevolence if we vote or feed them into power. No one wants to drag us out of being middle-class, because our cumulative blind consumerism, the sum total of our small aspirations — is the backbone of the world’s largest capitalist economy.

Understanding the worth of our faith

Any religion separates humans from humanity — with abstract notions of divinity, and afterlife. So does being middle class. The mokhsa that awaits a well-lived faithful middle-class lives are a house, relaxing weekends, a pensioned retired life with enough for children’s education and wedding.

Being middle-class is not about the household income, but how it separates individuals, and their families, from their human lives and their dreams. Being middle-class is being risk-averse. Being middle-class is being stuck in the mud, and starting to call it the comfort zone. Being middle-class is being an agent through which corporations will exchange money between themselves.

Is the middle-class life we lead and believe to be the good life, worth the sacrifices we make? The tragedy of believers of the middle-class faith is that they do not often know what they are sacrificing.

Identifying the good ol’ faithful

Middle-class are not those bunch of people who are trapped between the paupers and princes, and cannot move either ways.

Being middle-class is being convinced by a sense of hollow freedom, being imprisoned by imaginary walls despite being in the infinite, limited by a horizon. And knowing that we could have had it all, only if we went in for the kill, but we never did.

Why we never did? There was either no time or money or enough paid leave from the employers for that.

Middle-class is one who cannot say No. Middle-class is shy and reverent. They are not cowards, its that they are not foolhardy. They are the ones who will not take a round-the-world trip for they are saving for retirement, or children’s education. Middle-class are the ones who will pride themselves in saving 20% of a sale price in a store, that used to be out of reach until a few years ago. A middle-class will buy a small car, just enough to fit the whole family. A middle-class earns, a middle-class saves, a middle-class wades through the shallow waters of life. A middle-class is all about scruples, and tells white lies only if necessary. A middle-class is temptable, but resists it. A middle-class flies, and counts how many miles he earned. A middle-class chit-chats, consumes, copulates and the only thing they create are more middle-class people.

Breaking Bad

I am a middle-class mid-twenties immigrant in pursuit of the faded, jaded, eroded twenty-first century version of the Great American Dream. I share all attributes of others of this peace-loving religion that promises great social acceptance and comfort.

But I want to break bad.

I want you to read this article not as a flurry of words, but to feel each syllable as you feel the foam of a sofa, its springs and leather, put right in the middle of your living room in your breathless NYC apartment with a small window. Sit down, and look around at the four walls that surround you. Look at the ceiling, and the furniture around you cannot throw away because you just bought them.

Step one: I am teaching myself to be different, to be in pursuit of a different moksha.

Step Two: Every waking moment, I am dreaming to travel the world, to not have a back-up plan, to know people from all cultures, many more ancient rituals in forgotten lands, be friends with the pygmies, live with the eskimos, learn from the sherpas about resilience. I am counting on the advice that dreams come true if they are not doubted.

Step Three: I am challenging myself everyday to create art that had not existed before, not to sell but to thrill myself. I am disciplining myself not to judge others nor to justify myself to anyone.

Its not easy to be a rebel, while you are still a part of the tribe. So, what does the rebel do? It tries to influence the tribe. With words against the swords that rule the tribe.

I feel like I am a car with a functional engine, frozen from outside in a block of ice. But I am trying, revving the engine as hard as I can. Human beings were not meant to be tamed, like horses in the stable of the rich. They are not a power to be contained, but a power to be unleashed.

Let me know, if you think the same.

Originally published at sayonsomblog.wordpress.com on January 24, 2016.

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